Welcome to Thing 16!


You will be learning
  • about social media tools
  • how to utilize these tools to build a PLN
  • how to use the tools in the classroom

Overview

Social media includes online tools that allow teachers to communicate, share resources and information. Many people use social media as part of their social lives, yet they do not utilize these tools to build a professional network. Social media tools will be introduced and you will learn how they can be used to create a professional learning network (PLN).
One of the most powerful social media tools is Twitter. Watch the video below for an explanation of how Twitter can be used professionally.


The strength of Twitter is connecting with educators that share relevant information for your interests and needs. To find other educators on Twitter read this list of 7 ways to find teachers on Twitter. Another way to connect on Twitter is to follow a hashtag. A hashtag is a tag embedded in a message allowing you to search and filter messages. Common educational hashtags are #edchat and #mlearning. For a full list see this site. Educators use hashtags to "meet" regularly and share ideas. A calendar of Twitter chats can be seen here. One example is #5thchat, when 5th grade teachers "meet" on Twitter and chat about various education topics related to the 5th grade. Even if you can not be there in person you can search the hashtag at a later date and read the chat.

Twitter does have a learning curve, but if you stick with it I believe it can be one of the most helpful tools in your PLN.

Diigo: Diigo is a social bookmarking site. On Diigo you can bookmark online sites and resources, group the resources into categories, tag sites by subject and topic, join groups to share bookmarks, and connect with other educators.

Goodreads: Goodreads is a social book site. On Goodreads you can make lists of books you have read, are currently reading and want to read. You can connect with students and other educators allowing you to recommend books to each other and see book reviews and ratings.

Facebook: Facebook can be utilized to connect with other educators. You can create a separate account for work and home if you prefer. Facebook pages for schools can be used to connect with parents and share news, events and important announcements. For an example view Palmetto Middle's Facebook page.

Pinterest: Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media sites. Pinterest is a virtual pin board where you can create boards to organize bulletin board ideas, books, organization tips and more. Read this articleto hear about ways that teachers are using Pinterest. Try following these boards for ideas: General,Elementary boards, Science teacherElem mathMiddle/high math.

Ideas for the Classroom

  • connect with teachers across the globe to share ideas and resources
  • broadcast lesson ideas and classroom tools with others
  • utilize social media tools like Edmodo for student group work
  • share class and school news with parents
  • utilize social bookmarking for projects and organization

Your Task

For this thing you will be exploring social media tools. You have been exposed to the Edmodo site. Now it is time to try other tools. Choose one of the tools listed above, create an account and become familiar with how the site works. Connect with at least three other educators. Post a comment on Edmodo telling which tool you tried, if you found any information you could use in your classroom, and how you believe this tool could help you in the future.


Extra Credit

Make an effort to revisit the tool you tried for at least one month. Continue to expand your PLN and begin to share your ideas and thoughts with others. An online PLN can be one of the most influential tools in building and improving your own teaching practice.

-Tamara Cox